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Iran Press TV

First COVAX shipment of 700,000 jabs sent to Tehran: Spokesman

Iran Press TV

Monday, 05 April 2021 7:08 AM

Iran's Health Ministry says the first shipment of the World Health Organization's COVAX global vaccine plan, containing more than 700,000 doses of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine, has been sent to Tehran from Amsterdam.

"The first shipment of vaccines prepared by the COVAX scheme, containing more than 700,000 does of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by SK-Bio Institute of South Korea was loaded and sent to Tehran from the Amsterdam route minutes ago," Kianoush Jahanpour, the spokesman for Iran Food and Drug Administration (IFDA), wrote in a tweet late on Sunday.

According to Jahanpour, Iran has bought 16.8 million doses of vaccine via the COVAX global initiative.

Iran began its COVID-19 vaccination campaign with Russia's Sputnik V vaccine on February 9, starting with front-line medical workers who have already fought off three tough coronavirus waves in the country.

According to the spokesman of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus, Iran has so far received 790,000 vaccine doses from other countries.

"Some vaccines are on the way and will arrive in Iran this week. Of course, there is a special situation regarding vaccines in the world and the disputes that have arisen among some countries due to vaccine [distribution and supply]," Alireza Raeisi said.

Raeisi also pointed to the purchase of vaccines via the COVAX initiative, saying while Iran expected to receive 4.2 million doses before the Iranian New Year on March 21, the plan has been postponed repeatedly, and instead, 780,000 doses will arrive in the country by Wednesday.

He added that so far 250,000 people in Iran have been vaccinated, of whom 56,000 have received their second jabs.

Last week, Ali Rabiei, the spokesman for the Iranian administration, said Iran has authorized the purchase of more than 21 million doses of vaccines via the COVAX mechanism.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Rabiei said the delivery of vaccine shipments to Iran and elsewhere in the world was far behind the schedule.

Nevertheless, he continued, Iran will receive vaccine shipments from Russia, China and the COVAX initiative in the coming days and this trend will increase exponentially thanks to joint production schemes as well as domestic production in late spring.

He added that mass vaccinations will continue through spring, summer and autumn until the country reaches collective immunity.

Besides importing vaccines from other countries, including China, Russia and India, Iran has been developing its own vaccines which are still in the human trial phase.

Last month, the Islamic Republic unveiled a new COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Defense Ministry's research center. The first phase of the human trial of the vaccine, dubbed Fakhra, was launched during a ceremony in Tehran on March 16.

In addition to Fakhra, Iran has developed three other vaccines, including Coviran Barekat developed by experts at the Headquarters for Executing the Order of Imam Khomeini, Razi COV-Pars vaccine developed by the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute, and Soberana 2 vaccine which is a joint venture between Cuba's Finlay Vaccine Institute and Iran's Pasteur Institute.

Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said on Sunday that 161 more people had died of the highly infectious disease over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of recorded deaths from the virus in Iran to 63,160.

Sadat Lari added that during the same period, 11,680 people tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,572 people were hospitalized.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki has warned in recent days that the fourth wave of COVID-19 has already begun across the country, with daily death rates hitting new three-month records on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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